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New Arsenal Emerges in Struggle over Iran’s Internet

From left: Ehsan Norouzi, Issac Mao, Cyrus Farivar, and Mehdi Yahyanejad
From left: Ehsan Norouzi, Issac Mao, Cyrus Farivar, and Mehdi Yahyanejad

NEW YORK, Jun 20, 2011 (IPS) – Millions of Iranians who have lived under an intense level of internet filtering and advanced monitoring systems for years may soon benefit from new technology that sidesteps the censors.

Last week, the New York Times reported that “the [Barack] Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy ‘shadow’ Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks.”

One of these projects has been dubbed “Internet in a suitcase”. According to the Times, the suitcase – financed with a two-million- dollar State Department grant – could be smuggled across the border and quickly set up to allow wireless communication over a wide area with a link to the global Internet. Continue reading New Arsenal Emerges in Struggle over Iran’s Internet

The U.S. Pressures Iran on Human Rights

Huffington Post, Posted May 20, 2011– Many may be critical of America’s human rights policies, particularly its double standards when it comes to the records of its allies in the Middle East and beyond, not to mention in Bahrain. But human rights activists and organizations have welcomed the Obama administration’s presence at the Human Rights Council in Geneva since 2009. Like it or not, “without a strong U.S. counterweight, non-democratic states such as Cuba, Algeria, China and Pakistan joined forces to blunt the Council’s work and bully other states.”

The UN will appoint a special rapporteur for Iran in the weeks to come.

In Geneva, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, the U.S. representative to the Council is a superstar. She is the face of U.S. human rights in town, a master of building coalitions and cooperation with different partners to make things happen. In an interview with me in Geneva, she responded to questions about the urgency and significance of establishing a monitoring mechanism for Iran, the role of politics in U.S. human rights policy, the perception of U.S. hypocrisy towards its friends and foes, her opinion about the Iranian officials’ allegations on the politicization of UN human rights mechanisms, and finally, why the U.S. is going aggressively after Iran’s human rights record. Excerpts from the interview follow: Continue reading The U.S. Pressures Iran on Human Rights